My teaching is focused on equity, applicability, and accessibility. I think it is important to center equity, especially in the language classroom. It is crucial to recognize that every student brings a different skillset to the table, making it impossible to have one general, blanket approach to teaching a language. Thus, it is essential for me as a teacher to find a balance and provide a variety of options to encourage the best possible learning outcome for each student. For this reason, I emphasize and value transparency, regular communication, and humor in my classroom.
Communication is the core skill through which vocabulary and grammar are practiced, and reading, listening, writing, and speaking are improved. In my own research, I find that issues of social inequity, economic development, or simply cultural progress need to be understood historically and discursively. It is my goal as an educator to help my students learn the skills and perspectives necessary to understand and discuss important historical and political forces that create and maintain hierarchies and power discourses in German-speaking countries.
I provide my students room for interdisciplinary development of their ideas and opportunities to use what they learn reflectively to think about their own lived experiences. Without personal applicability, both cultural topics and language improvement fall flat. I encourage them to relate what they learn of Germany with their experiences in the US and equip students with core skills of the humanities: Close reading, and argumentative and ethical reasoning. Even within the context of a foreign language, these skills can and need to be practiced and lead to great learning outcomes. Furthermore, I believe it to be essential to create create a classroom informed by anti-racist ideology which means not only highlighting racist and exclusionary structures in German politics and society, but, most importantly, centering the lived experiences of minoritized peoples, particularly Afro-Germans and Turkish-Germans.
I have made the experience that a varied and fun classroom is crucial in setting the tone for a German language class that is engaging, and motivates and interests students. For this reason, I often use mini games, comic creators, videos, and memes in the classroom to create an entertaining classroom atmosphere that students enjoy participating in. Teaching on that basis does not only support student learning, it also creates a positive connection with the language.
I have experience teaching at a 24,000-person public university where I have been teaching German content and language classes on all three levels my department offers (100, 200, 300). I have revised syllabi to ensure intellectually stimulating, engaging, and research-based classrooms. I believe that my approach to teaching, my encouragement of interdisciplinary work and personal applicability and development transcend the language classroom and are applicable to each and any teaching scenario - something I was able to demonstrate in teaching a course on German multiculturalism in Winter 2022 and am excited to prove as soon as further opportunity arises.
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EXPERIENCE AS INSTRUCTOR OF RECORDS AT UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
GER 223: Germany - A Multicultural Society? [Winter 2022]
Revised the syllabus for GER 223 [26 students]
Historical contexts and readings of Afro-Germans, Jewish life in Germany, Turkish-Germans and guest workers
Discussion of concepts of multiculturalism, identity, race and racism, prejudice; use of NYT's podcast Day X to discuss rise of right-wing extremism
Focus on self-determination of minoritized groups and global connections
GER 103: 1st Year German [Spring 2021 (online)
Teaching German grammar, vocabulary, reading, and listening with focus on oral communication to 16 students (Book: Sag Mal)
GER 201: 2nd Year German [Fall 2017, 2018, 2019 & Summer 2018, 2020 (online), 2021 (online)
Teaching German grammar, vocabulary, reading, and listening with focus on oral communication to between 18-24 students; focus on different German cities (Berlin, München, Heidelberg, Hamburg) and their historical and cultural relevance (Book: Stationen)
GER 202: 2nd Year German [Winter 2018, 2019, 2020 & Summer 2019]
GER 203: 2nd Year German [Spring 2018, 2019; 2020 online]
Co-revised the syllabus for GER 203; instead of focusing on German cities (like in GER 201 and Ger 202), the focus was on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Der Besuch der alten Dame (1956). Students read, discussed, and enacted the play to improve their vocabulary, grammar, and overall understanding of the German language. By combining their language learning with a concrete and popular cultural object, the class transcended the usual focus on everyday conversations, leading students to use the German language to talk about abstract concepts (greed, betrayal, regret,...), literary interpretations, stylistic devises as well as historical contexts. The class finished with a research project in German as well as poster symposium.
GER 311: Intermediate Language Training [Fall 2020, online]
The focus of this class is creating a balance between working with intellectually stimulating content and practicing the skills needed to communicate on an intermediate to advanced level to prepare students for the German Studies minor and major. Topics covered: multicultural Germany, Germany's past and the engagement with it; 27 students (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) (Books used: Anders gedacht; Deutsche Wiederholungsgrammatik)
GER 312: Intermediate Language Training [Winter 2021, online]
Similar to GER 311, the focus of the class is the balance of intellectual challenge and practicing of German language skills on an intermediate to advanced level. Topics covered: Afro-Germans (short film; readings; discussions; project); late 20th German films; 24 students
AS GUEST LECTURER AT UNIVERSITY OF OREGON:
"The Memory of the Holocaust in Germany." HIST 420: The Idea of Europe, Spring 2020 (online). Download my PPT here.
AS GRADER AT UNIVERSITY OF OREGON:
GER 223: Germany - A Multicultural Society? [Summer 2020 and Summer 2021]
AS TEACHING ASSISTANT AT EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITY TÜBINGEN:
"Einführung in die skandinavische Literaturgeschichte" (Introduction to Scandinavian Literary History), Fall 2016
Selected Comments from Teaching Evaluations
Full evaluations available upon request
“His energy is so fun and I never missed a class because I actually just really enjoyed going” (Fall 2017)
"Joscha is an unbelievable teacher and makes time for all of his students. He is funny and knows how to get out attention. I don't really know how much he could improve" (Spring 2018)
"Joscha is super funny and entertaining, he also knows German very well. His love for memes inspires me every day to do better" (Winter 2018)
“The professor is so great about ensuring we are covering everything we need, as well as ensuring we feel motivated to keep learning German” (Winter 2021)
“Joscha is an excellent instructor who makes an active effort to mold both his curriculum and the class structure to better fit his students. He puts in an exceptional amount of work to ensure that his students succeed” (Fall 2017)
"Joscha is an excellent teacher and is always available to talk after class via email or in person. Most of the class was spoke in German which was really helpful to pick up certain phrases and verses. I really appreciated how much he cared for his students!" (Spring 2018)
"I specifically felt that Joscha was very helpful to my learning experience because I knew I was supported and he understood that we are not fluent in the language and needed lots of help" (Fall 2019)
"I think that in this class, the instructor was very quick with email responses and being clear with students about what he expected of them in each assignment, and he always gave back helpful and useful feedback. (Fall 2020)
"Joscha is very knowledgeable about the intricacies of the language he is teaching and is open to explain things that may be misunderstood or harder to understand" (Winter 2018)
“Although I was just one of a full class of 18 or so, he took time to check in with the students with consistent emails and I felt like I was receiving very individual attention. He used humor and interactive activities teach the various modules and keep students engaged. During this very challenging term for students and faculty, he appeared to rise to a higher standard and took on the task of instructing a course that I’m sure would’ve been easier in the classroom. […] His enthusiasm was contagious. The praise along the way and the encouragement from Joscha kept me interested in those last few weeks after reaching complete screen-time fatigue.” (Spring 2020)